- Please note: We no longer have the old $9.95 edition of Waterfall Walks
and Drives in GA, AL and TN mentioned on pg. 157. It has been replaced
by the new $14.95 version. As well shipping is now $3.00 instead of $2.00.
- Bridal Veil Falls (pg. 59) has suffered a major rockslde. According
to reports, the left side of the rock face sheared away from the main body
of the cliff.
- Dismal Falls Update: In the first edition of Waterfall Walks and Drives
in the Great Smoky Mountains and the Western Carolinas the directions contained
on page 78 "Lower and Upper Dismal Falls" are in error. These
directions do lead to two waterfalls (Rhapsodie and a lower fall on this
unnamed branch). I apologize for any inconvenience.
Directions to Dismal Falls
At this location, park on the east shoulder of the road, in the space provided.
Directly across the road (west) is a gated logging road that serves as
the trail (N 35 11.289 W 082 57.215).
Initially, the route is rutted and somewhat rugged. As well, it crosses
and recrosses a meandering creek 4 or 5 times and passes through several
wildlife openings. At .5 of a mile look for a side path to the right. This
leads 450' to the base of the first of three unnamed waterfalls seen enroute
to Dismal Falls.
Even though there is not alot of water here, this is a beautiful waterfall
that falls from a bold, 60'-wide rock edifice. At the time of my last visit,
there was a hemlock atop the lower tier that hung precariously over the
creek, before shooting straight up.
Back on the main trail continue westerly. After crossing the just visited
falls branch the roadbed hugs the tree line on the high (or right)
side of a wildlife opening.
Please pay close attention here... Just shy of a mile, pass under a power
line (N 35 11.301 W 082 58.110). If youre not attentive, this small
power line could be easily missed. (Pay no attention to a path which is
soon encountered on the left.) Twelve hundred feet from the power line,
amongst a stand of white pines (N 35 11.266 W 082 58.321) the pathway to
the falls makes a 90 degrees left to head south towards the West Fork of
the French Broad River. (This turnoff is 150' beyond a creek, which is
crossed 1050' (.2 of a mile) from the power line. Also preceding this turnoff,
on the left side of the old roadbed is an earth berm and a small, 3-4'
deep wash at its west end. The pathway atop the old roadbed peters out
here as well.) There really arent any defined paths through the woods
heading towards the river, but once at the rivers edge (180' away)
look for an obvious opening in the rhododendron. (Actually there are two
openings in this vicinity, both have shallow crossings and will get you
where you need to be.) Cross the river (more like a creek than river) and
the paths soon converge slightly downstream. In less than 100' the route
turns southwesterly and ascends. In .1 of a mile (1.35 miles into the hike)
a side path leads right, for 50', to a very nice 35' waterfall.
Spilling from ledge to ledge in a three-tier dance down the bedrock, its
sounds are soothingly hypnotic. Its waters collect briefly at the base
then are channeled to the right into a narrow chute and spill downstream.
This waterfall and another one that lies 700' upstream are on a small,
uncharted creek one hollow west of Dismal Falls. With the easy part behind
us, when youre rested well carry on.
Backtrack 50' and look for a steep path that distantly parallels the left
side of this creek upstream. This leads to Dismal Falls. Soon (1.4 miles)
pass by some rather large boulders to the paths left side. One of
them has a huge, rockhouse-like overhang. Explore them on the way out.
At 1.5 miles, with the steep ridgeline looming ahead, the pathway levels
slightly (N 35 11.089 W 082 58.439). Look for a slim path on the right
(more like a bushwhack) that leads 200' to a beautiful, 60' showering waterfall.
Back on the main pathway, the route now turns sharply left (more easterly)
to round the ridge and enter the drainage of Dismal Creek, where it turns
south and steepens. At 1.6 miles pass by and atop an outcrop of rather
large boulders. From this point, with all the leaf litter, the pathway
is easily lost but generally heads south southwest and to the Dismal Creek
side of the ridgeline. At 1.8 miles, the ridgeline levels somewhat then
abruptly steepens (N 35 10.901 W 082 58.486). Access to the base of Dismal
Falls is located here. (The not too distant falls can be heard from this
location in winter.) Look almost 90 degrees left (generally southeast)
down the steep slope for a hole in the rhododendron. With your hands free,
descend this steep slope for approximately .1 of a mile to the base area.
- The interior color photo (pg. D) labeled as Cascade Falls is actually
- Parking for the Falls on the Horsepasture River has been relocated.
The North Carolina DOT has eliminated all parking along NC 281. Parking
is available at the Gorges State Park parking area, which is located on
NC 281, 200' north of the gated road/trail (described in the book) that
leads to the falls. This adds approximately .3 of a mile to the hike.
- The hike to the Falls on Yellow Branch, SC has been rerouted (at the
half-mile point) on a newly constructed section of trail. This adds another
half mile to the hike. Many thanks to Bob Klutts for the info.
- The old Cold Mountain access into Panthertown Valley, NC has been closed
by the Forest Service and Duke Power. The new access is as follows: Drive
Cold Mountain Road for 5.7 miles and turn left at the Canaan Land Retreat.
(The road is gated here. Follow the Forest Service signs.). Travel .1 of
a mile and turn right onto the Duke Power tower #70 access. The unmarked
trail to Greenland Creek Falls is encountered immediately on the
left (where the old gate stood). Continue for another .15 of a mile to
the parking area and east access into the valley.
- On Oct. 3rd, 2000 the US Forest Service made the following announcement:
"Chattooga Trail High Water Detours--When the river is high, two short
sections of the Chattooga Trail are under water. Hikers using the trail
during high water either scramble through the woods above the trail, or
wade in the river. Neither is safe, and the former is causing erosion problems.
We plan to construct high water detours around these trouble areas. The
northern detour would be about 600 feet in length, the southern detour
would be about 300 feet."
On page 144 of Waterfall Walks and Drives in the Great Smoky Mountains
and the Western Carolinas, The Northern High Water Detour is located
just up river from the Big Bend Trail intersection.
The Southern High Water Detour is located between the words "Chattooga"
and "Rock Gorge" on the same hiking map.
- Access to Opossum Creek Falls, SC
To reach the trailhead, consult the Long Creek Falls hike on pg. 132
and add the following directions.
From the intersection of Battle Creek Rd. and Turkey Ridge Rd., drive
Turkey Ridge Rd. for approx. 2.25 miles and look carefully for the carsonite
stake marking the Opossum Creek at Chattooga River Trail. Hike this
moderate-difficult trail for 2.05 miles to river level. Once there, hike
downstream for approximately 300' to the mouth of Opossum Creek. Hike the
north side of the creek upstream for .3 of a mile +or- to the viewing area
for the lower tier. The upper tiers are still not accessible. Hazards: heavy
undergrowth; some fallen trees must be crossed; slick rocks.
An "8", .25 of a mile, moderate, heavy undergrowth near falls.
Please see directions to the Falls on the Horsepasture River and travel
south on NC 281 an additional 2.7 miles to SR 1189 (Brewer Rd.) which is
on the left. Park (on the shoulder) at the intersection of 1189 and an old
logging road (which leads steeply uphill). Please do not block the gate.
Watch carefully for 55 mph traffic while walking NC 281 in a southerly direction.
In 730', at the north end of the 2nd guardrail (painted with the the numbers
202+20), look for a slim path that enters the woods and treads a concrete
drainage flume for a short distance. The path then follows the base of NC
281's rip-rap covered slope and soon veers left and winds through the rhododendron
and doghobble on its final approach of the falls. Carefully descend White
Owl's steep slope to stream level. This is a beautiful spot with very few
visitors. It is best photographed on an overcast day.
A "7", .1 of a mile, steep and tricky descent to base.
Please see directions to White Owl Falls (above) and travel south on
NC 281 for an additional 1.3 miles and park on the left (east) side of NC
281. (If you pass Whitewater Church Rd. [on the right side of 281] you missed
the correct spot by 400'.) Walk north to the south end of the guardrail
and a lone power pole. Backtrack 50' and head northeast, passing to the
right side of a mound-like boulder as you enter the woods. Follow the vague
pathway a total of 240' to the top area. Once there, look for a steep and
winding pathway to their base (another 100' or so). This is another beautiful
spot. Like White Owl, it is best photographed on an overcast day.
Page updated 03-26-14